Plant Possibilities

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This past year, I have gotten pretty into plants… and while I somehow manage to keep myself alive, I’ve never been great at keeping my green friends thriving. While plants are such an important part of decorating a space, I never really had an interest in them until I visited the store Moss in Iowa City. Full disclaimer here: I was totally one of the people that made fun of the store when they first opened because I thought there was no way that they’d be able to create a sustainable business selling moss, succulents, pots, and other small gifts! There was no way!!! But, I must say, after my first time ever visiting the store… it wasn’t long before I was a regular customer.

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I became obsessed with the way cacti and succulents looked and the way that a little greenery could brighten your whole mood in a room. Anytime I saw a plant on sale- I snatched it up and started looking for creative ways to give it a new home. Although I had a new passion of indoor gardening, it didn’t mean I was good at it. I’d try propagating (taking leaves from plants to grow a new plant) clippings co-workers would give me. Everyone else’s would grow 3 times as fast, most of mine would shrivel out, and even when one started to grow it took FOREVER. I began to think that maybe plants weren’t the thing for me.

 

 

When I moved to LA, I had to say buh-bye to the plants I’d cared for so much in the past year and left them in the care of my mom. (The plants actually seem to be thriving, but I have no idea how because she’s not great with plants either.) I’m surrounded by green-thumbs though (which only seems to frustrate me more at my lack of ability.) Before moving I helped my Uncle (who has basically converted half of his house into a greenhouse) plant seeds in preparation for the Summer. He had the whole set up including proper lighting, watering techniques, potting materials, you name it! Then there’s my boyfriend who can find a seed or leaf on the ground and three days later it’s over growing its pot.

I wasn’t ready to give up. Now that I’m finally starting to get settled in my apartment and making it look like a home (the reveal will be soon I swear just waiting on a few final touches like plants, pictures, and artwork) I could see that I was missing something—plants. I also need something to “take care of” and I’m nowhere near ready for the responsibility of a dog so plants it is.

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In California there are soooo many floral shops, nurseries, and gardens BUT plants can be really expensive. This weekend I went with a friend of mine to the Los Angeles Flower District. Basically, is about 4 square blocks of nothing but floral and plant shops. They’re these warehouse buildings that have all different kinds of flower venders selling fresh cut flowers, house plants, outdoor plants, pots, and plant accessories. Whether interested in buying plants or not it’s quite the experience! It will overwhelm your senses with bright and beautiful colors and everywhere you go it sells so amazing. The absolute best part though, is that it’s incredibly cheap. Tiny baby succulents for $1 each and taller house plants for $20 -$90 depending on the size of the plant.

 

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So here’s what all I walked away with: 1 tall tree thing, 1 small standard house plant, 1 standard vine plant, 1 bigger succulent grouping, 6 baby succulents, and 5 pots all for about $60-$70! What a steal!!! I wanted so much more but thought this was a good place to start. Obviously I don’t know any of the technical names being new to this plant thing and having done no research. None of them were really labeled at the store so if you know what they are or what they’re called, please let me know.

 

 

Logistics: The flower district is located downtown LA close to the fashion district. There’s plenty of parking available in the area, most of it was $5-10 depending on how long you’ll be there. The parking lots are very close so if you need to make a few trips like we did it’s super easy to do!  The market is during the morning and I believe it ends at 2:00 pm so plan accordingly. We met there at 11:00 and made a lap around to all the shops and scoped things out for about an hour then went back through and made our purchases. To go into the original LA Flower Market we had to pay $1. Although its cheap and you think that it’s going to be worth it, we actually had better luck at all the surrounding shops.

 

Since it’s down town there are soooo many ways to make a day out of it if you’re already making the drive. The arts district (which I still need to check out) and the ROW DTLA are close by (driving distance though.) We drove a little way to go to lunch at Bottega Louie —so good but there are also sooooo many options to stop and eat at just be prepared you’ll have to pay for parking again. I had an event later that day that was also down town at the LA Center for Digital Art, so I went and parked again in that area and walked around until I found a coffee shop where I could sit and write this blog post! I found the neatest little space with this tiny, all glass coffee shop in the middle of all these apartment buildings called Tilt Coffee. It was just what I needed. It’s the best kind of treat yourself and your apartment kind of day!

Happy Homemaking?

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IMG_3364_03.jpgLaying out the welcome mat not only to welcome you back, but because I officially have my own place! However, the real reason that I haven’t had time to write  isn’t because of the unpacking, the screwing together cheap furniture, or the extra freelancing gigs, but instead it’s because of the amount of time I’ve spent on hold customer service hotlines these past few weeks…

Some people might say that I have finally reached adulthood since I that moved away from home, found a fulltime job, rented an apartment, and now have a stack of bills that need paid, BUT those were all things I’ve prepared for. After jumping these hurdles… I now have a new outlook on life. Adulthood is less about “adulting” and more about the amount of patience you have when it comes to dealing with strangers over the phone.

You might be a little confused but I’m here to explain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m supper happy with my new place and am finally getting settled.  But ever since I began this journey one thing after another continues to go wrong.

I started my apartment search looking everywhere from Craigslist (which was sometimes legit and other times as sketchy as it sounds) to sites like Apartments.com and Westside Rentals.  At first these services seem really great… but beware they may not always be up-to-date! The pricing could change, and they could jack it up on you when you go to a showing.  My advice would be to always screen shot the listing ,so when they tell you a price that’s much higher, you can prove what you saw in the ad! Something else to keep in mind is that some places only list apartment units that are available immediately. For example, if you find a complex you love, and they say they only have one-bedrooms right now (but you want a studio) call and see if they have any that will be coming available in the next month!

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Once I started touring locations, I quickly began to notice a few trends: places aren’t as pet friendly as you’d think, 1 bedrooms are way over priced (you’re almost better off getting a two bedroom) parking can sometimes be a luxury, and oh yeah… they don’t always come with refrigerators so be prepared to buy/move/rent/deliver the biggest and one of the most expensive things in your entire apartment.

IMG_0708_02After looking at a ton of places though, I finally found the one that felt like home!  I found a lovely little JR 1-Bedroom apartment (basically a one bedroom but it’s not completely separated from the other living spaces.)  The apartment sits across the street from a beautiful park and lake. I have a nice little balcony and view of the pool! Life seems pretty great but like I had mentioned it was a bumpy road.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was  ½ through signing my paper work for the apartment when the main office calls and lets the property manager know the price she told me was incorrect and it was going to be slightly more expensive than previously stated. While we got that figured out I was already facing my next challenge—trying to get the money together to pay for the apartment. If you find yourself moving away from your small-town bank, I suggest you open a new account at your new location ASAP. Make sure you fully research and check with both banks about your transfer options and give yourself plenty of time to move the funds. Even with all the challenges though and a week’s worth of stress, confusion, and frustration later I had a new apartment.

I dodged the whole no fridge bullet by purchasing one off of good-faith from some lady on Craigslist, but it actually worked out great! I also looked into shipping my furniture from Iowa via a POD or U-Haul and that was waaaaaaay not worth it!  Next priority was that I needed a bed (something I definitely wasn’t going to buy off Craigslist.) I ended up taking a friend’s suggestion and ordered one of those roll up mattresses that they mail you in a compressed in a  box. He swore by it and it was less than $300 so I thought I’d give it a try. This mattress will be the death of me I swear.  First obstacle, when you order online don’t forget to update your credit card mailing address when you change your account address because they’ll catch it and cancel your order.  Take number two of ordering the mattress- I get it in the mail, unroll it and wait the 48 hours for it to reach maximum fluff like you’re supposed to ONLY to find out that it’s the worst mattress ever. It’s so stiff that I woke up in the middle of the night and went back to sleep on the air mattress.

I called to return it to the company like the paper work that came with it says, and they said I needed to go through Amazon. So, I called Amazon and they said they’re going to fix it. They scheduled a mail company to pick it up the next day at no cost and tell me that I don’t have to do a thing. UPS will bring the label and take it as it. Great, all I had to do was work from home the whole day and wait for them to arrive anytime between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. All morning I’m working away and before I know it it’s 12:00 (still no word from them.) I then swear I hear a knock at more door, run to it, and no one’s there but there’s a tag from UPS on the door. I look everywhere—no mailman to be seen. Turns out the knocking was at a neighbor a few doors down and UPS quietly showed up sometime earlier. So, I called UPS back and explained what had happed and then had to pay out of my own pocket to have a driver come back.  3 hours later, UPS shows up at my building, comes up to my apartment, see’s the mattress and refused to take it because it’s not in a box. It’s a mattress. Where do you get a box for a mattress? So, I called Amazon back, get transferred three times but in the end, they told me to keep the mattress and they’d give me a full refund.  Let me just tell you, even though it ended up being free it’s still the worst and I’m stuck with dealing with it. Don’t worry though, I now have a very, very comfortable mattress and am getting a great night’s sleep.

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Last but not least is the weirdest event of them all. So, I found a couch I loved at Home Goods and they use a delivery service called Lugg. Lugg is like the Uber equivalent for moving services. You download the app, select a pick-up truck, moving van, or truck, type in the pick-up location and the drop off location and you’re good to go.  Seems great right…. until the movers show up at your place with two couches and insist they’re both yours. Yes, my first reaction was like “great, a free couch” and then I remembered I have a tiny apartment and the free couch is bigger than the one I picked out. It wasn’t going to work, so one of the movers said he’d just take it home with him. All was fine till I got the bill and learned it was twice as expensive due to the second couch I didn’t even want in the first place!  Again, I got it worked out after about 7 emails and phone calls.

Now these are all the major events I’ve experienced so far, but there were so many minor events in-between from emergency maintenence calls to hour long return lines at Walmart and Target, but at the end of the day, all of it has been worth it!  It feels great to be making things happen and figure it all out on my own. I’m excited to keep decorating my space and make it feel more like a home.  Once I get things in better shape and stop using cardboard boxes as furniture, I’ll be sure to show you the space and share some of my favorite design and furniture tips and tricks in a later post—stay tuned! Until then stay up to date by following @dayofjae on Instagram!

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